Thursday, October 05, 2006

Back to the Status Quo

1.

Having two postcolonial theory classes can wreck havoc on one's thinking. For one, there is the distinct possibility of overlapping - there are days when I can't remember if this is the class where I made this point, or vice versa. And besides, it's getting to a point where both professors are pretty much mimicking the other, which is kinda insane because postcol in general does have a tendency to run around in circles, like a dog chasing after its own tail. And besides, after awhile, you realize that the Other can be the Center, and the lines between the binary opposites of East and West where this paradigm operates is pretty blurry anyway, thanks to globalization and postmodernism and all that neo-colonial whateveryouhaves that pretty much only leads to one conclusion: we are all fucked up.

And another: the professors who are handling both postcol classes have this strange affinity for going back to the texts which have little or no connection to the Asian experience. I mean, consider the constitution of the class: all of us come from Asian countries (whether Singapore or within the general region), studying at a premier Asian university, and we expect something that hits closer to home. I mean, Thailand aside (which, one can argue, has been indirectly colonized anyway), there is a wealth of contemporary literary texts written in English from so many Asian countries that discuss the colonial and postcolonial experience that can most probably mirror our own experiences, and can be a much better springboard for discussion. At this point, I can safely say that I now know more about the Caribbean than what is healthy for me, and I can also safely assume that I will never, in my life, visit that particular area as long as I live - unless I end up living an entire Miami Vice-esque life. (Which is quite difficult to envision at this point - what will the American police want with an English Lit student anyway?) And besides, there is that idea that since you are in Asia, which is a cultural hotbed anyway, and a very postcolonial region, so why not get the texts from various countries here? I mean, the only token Asian novel we're doing is Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children and that doesn't even really count anymore, does it? I mean, from a stylistic and historic point of view, perhaps, yes, but from a postcol view? I'm not too sure. O_o

And let's just face it: you can only take so much Creole before your head explodes.

2.

Having discovered the Graduate Reading Room at the English Department, it delights me to no end that there is an nice comfy armchair where one can curl up in private and read. We are also provided with two ancient computers (we still have floppy disk drives) that takes fifteen minutes to boot and has a very very VERY old Microsoft Windows OS. And we don't have Yahoo Messenger on it. And of course, since it's on the uni network, you can't check out the more, erm, adult sites. (Haha.) And it's nice since we're also near the Central Library, the Arts Canteen (though it's going to be renovated by November, which means we have to trudge all the way to Engineering across the street or find alternative means of filling our stomachs), and the Grinning Gecko - a small cafe that serves excellent cheese fries, coffee, and tollhouse chocolate chip cookies. ^_^

The only thing that bothers me is the fact that there's a small strip of glass that runs across two thirds of the wall that looks inwards into the hallway of the English Dept faculty. It ends up being a fish-in-a-fishbowl feeling: people peer into the Reading Room for various reasons - to check out who's there, to see if there's someone there worth talking to, to surreptitiously check out the hot chicks (me and Marissa, generally) inside, and the list goes on. It can be quite uncomfy, particularly if your professor passes by and sees you splayed on the armchair, your legs hanging over the armrest in a most undignified and un-graduate-student-like manner. O_o

3.

During my morning walk/run (well, more of a walk than a run), I pass by a group of elderly women doing their morning stretches along the side of the cemented path that weaves around Kent Ridge Park. They do their yoga-like stretching in front of the koi pond, accompanied by tinkling music and a Chinese narrator that presumably instructs them on the next pose to take. For some of the women, who are in wheelchairs, they participate by making their caretakers do the exercises while they watch, comfortably bundled up. I'm curious to know whether or not these wheelchair women are affected by any of the exercises that the group does, and whether they are participating in some sort of vicarious experience.

What is interesting about the park is that I've already seen a kickass iguana the size of my thigh and probably more than half my height waddle sedately across the path and slip into the murky waters of the turtle pond. I've also seen several monkeys chittering happily to themselves in the early morning light, and various songbirds flitting from tree to tree. I feel like I live near a zoo now. ^_^

4.

My friends tell me I fall in love too easily.

I think it might be true. It's beginning to be an addiction.

I wonder if there's a Romantics Anonymous...

"Hi, my name is Gabby, and I'm addicted to falling in love..."

5.

Things to do:

Women and Modernity oral response
Modern Spaces & YA research proposal
Ingrid de Kok presentation
Alfian Sa'at presentation
Salman Rushdie presentation
Agda Shalid Ali paper
Modern Spaces & YA paper
Salman Rushdie paper

postcol poetry midterm exam
postcol poetry finals
postcol novel finals

Oh lord. O_o

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